Tell Me a Story

Tell Me a Story – “So this is Margaret, so this is Margaret”

Tell Me a Story

Tell Me a Story Challenge :

Choose a person.  Then do any or all of the following:

  • Make a list of the top ten stories about this person, a word or phrase will do.
  • Choose one story and tell a compelling, short version that will interest your family members in one minute or less.
  • Tell a more detailed version of that story including photos if you have them.

Note:  You can read about my inspiration behind this challenge here.  I’ve decided to reverse the order in my post.  If you are reading this, you like stories so I’ll start with the full story, then the bite-sized story to hook my family members, then the list of ten stories.


Mary Margaret Ellis Peterson, looking left
My Grandma, Mary Margaret Ellis

My grandparents met and started dating in High School.  My Grandpa graduated at the height of WWII.  He knew he would be drafted so he enlisted in the Marine Corps right after graduation.  My Grandma wrote to him and waited for him.  She finished high school and went on to graduate from college (I think Weber College) with a degree in science.  My Grandpa served two years in the Marine Corps and then the war ended.  He was home for a time before he left for New Zealand on an LDS mission.

Grandma had been waiting for a long time.  She had enjoyed her high school and college days but she had more time to wait before Grandpa would be home.  She was 19 years old and she decided she wanted to serve an LDS mission.  She met with her local church leader and together they filled out mission paperwork and sent it into Salt Lake.

Her request was denied.  It’s totally understandable though.  At that time a woman had to be 23 to serve an LDS mission.  Well, she didn’t take no for an answer and sent in papers again, once again requesting to serve a mission.  And once again her request was denied.

She had just turned 20 years old when my Grandpa’s brother Darrell died.  She attended the funeral with her future in-laws.  She was invited to ride in the family car to the cemetery.  She was in the car when President David O. McKay walked up to it.  He greeted my great grandparents who introduced President McKay to my Grandma.  He took her hand in both of his and as they shook hands he said, “So this is Margaret… so this is Margaret.”

The very next week my Grandma received a mission call in the mail.  She was called to serve an LDS mission with one stipulation – she had to return home early.  She had to return home one month before my Grandpa so she could plan their wedding.  She was able to serve for about 14 months in the California mission.  In the many boxes she kept are photos from her mission and a few other items she saved including a letter from her mission president praising her hard work and love for the people in her mission.

My spunky Grandma was a missionary at a time when few women were serving missions and she did it 3 years younger than was allowed.  The more I learn about my Grandma the more in awe I am of her many talents and her great strength.


One Minute Story

My Grandma sent in mission papers twice when she was 19.  She was told she had to wait until she was 23 – the current minimum age for sister missionaries.  She met President David O. McKay just after her 20th birthday and got a mission call in the mail the next week.


Top Ten Stories List for Grandma

  • Cabbage Patch Dolls, Pound Puppies, can stools, quillos, and more!
  • The movie file
  • Identical feet
  • “You missed a B♭.”
  • Road map brain – travel map trip
  • Our last lunch
  • The Last Christmas Party
  • “I really need to write these things down…”
  • Pouring over her scrapbooks
  • Grandpa’s bracelet, grandma’s curls
  • “So this is Margaret, so this is Margaret.”
  • Two VCRs


Note:  My grandparents told me this and a few other stories about their interactions with President McKay several times.  I loved hearing them tell me stories.  This one has been on my mind because my oldest boy is currently waiting for a mission call.  The system says he has been assigned so we are just waiting for that big white envelope to arrive in the mail any day.  Don’t worry – he meets all of the criteria so he will not be kindly told to wait until he is older like my Grandma was.  😉

17 thoughts on “Tell Me a Story – “So this is Margaret, so this is Margaret””

  1. Your Grandmother was a beautiful woman–in appearance and spirit! Please explain to me who Pres. McKay was. I’m not LDS so some of the details here passed me by.

    1. Sorry EmilyAnn! I recently wrote a different post and he was part of that post so I didn’t explain here because I had already explained there. David O McKay is a family member and church leader. In 1947, at the time he met my grandmother, he was an Apostle and member of the First Presidency of our church. In 1951 he became the Prophet and President of our church. So now the details. Our church is led by a Prophet who also serves as President of the church. He has two counselors who serve in the First Presidency with him. They direct the affairs of the church and spend their entire lives teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are 12 Apostles who have the responsibility to serve as special witnesses of Jesus Christ. They have various leadership responsibilities throughout the world. They serve directly under the First Presidency. The first and second counselors to the Prophet are Apostles but are functioning as presidency members so while there are 12 Apostles, there are really 14. 🙂 David O Mckay is my great grandfathers cousin – not first cousins, second I think and 1 generation different. They knew each other well though because President McKay was very close to my great grandfather’s grandparents. They had other personal associations as well that enhanced their relationship. President McKay had attended the funeral as a mourner.

      1. Thanks for the detailed reply. I’m not on the reader every day and miss things. I just realized that the reason why I missed is because while unsubbing from another blog I also unchecked yours. I’ll correct that. But I do miss things because of work so your time to explain this is appreciated. You are very knowledgeable and represent your church very well. Peace!

    1. Thank you Melissa! I can’t wait to watch yours. I’ll head over there next. I should clarify, he wasn’t the prophet yet. It was 1947 so he was in the First Presidency. The reason he was at the funeral is that he and my great grandfather were cousins. Cool connections all the way around.

  2. She must have been quite a strong woman. What did she do on the mission in California? (Sorry for my ignorance, but I am not familiar with the goal of the missions.) Great story!

    1. Thank you Amy. She really was. I am fairly certain that her mission was a proselyting mission, meaning she spent her time meeting people and teaching them about Jesus Christ, answering their questions, meeting with people in their homes who were interested in learning more. There are all kinds of missions – proselyting missions, service missions, medical missions, family history missions. Some missions aren’t even allowed to talk about our beliefs, those are rare and are usually in countries where service is desperately needed. Medical missions are the most interesting to me. Medical professionals volunteer to serve very short and often regular missions. They will go to an area in need, set up a clinic of some sort like a wheelchair clinic, heart clinic, eye clinic, train local medical professionals to use and maintain the equipment they have brought, spend a month or so training and providing services and then they go back home for 11 months or so. The locals then run the clinic and receive ongoing support from the church to maintain the equipment. Those missionaries often go every year for years. I am in awe of their dedication and sacrifice. Many of them go in the summer and take their families. Some service missions include things like bringing clean, sustainable drinking water to an area through a well or series of wells. Sorry I’m rambling. I hope that answers your question. 🙂

    1. You are welcome! She really was. She suffered very poor health in later years and I’m so glad that she was able to accomplish so many things while she was able to.

  3. I love the idea of how you pulled all stories relevant to each person. Those stories led me to Tell me a story! I have many short stories I never told which I should and this is prodding me to do so. I’ll be sure and credit you in the opening with a link back! Love learning new ideas for blogging and writing

    1. Thank you, Jeanne! I really ought to write a few more. They were some of my favorite posts because I think those short stories add so much depth to our understanding of a person. Good luck! Happy I could bring some inspiration to your day. 🙂

Leave a Reply